Life with IoT – Creating a Connected World

The Impact of IoT on Our Everyday Lives

The clock reads 7:00 AM as you wake up to the sound of the alarm on your phone. At the same time, your bedroom light turns on, the shower starts to heat the water, and the coffee maker begins to brew. At 7:30, as you pour your coffee into your travel mug, you hear your car start and the garage door open, your morning drive playlist greets you as you head to work. On the way, your car alerts you to a traffic jam and reroutes you, saving you 15 minutes and getting you to work on time. As you scan your ID to get into work, your computer turns on and loads the latest news and reports you will need to begin your day.

As you begin to go through your previous day’s notes, you realize that you can’t remember if you need to pick up vegetables for tonight’s dinner. You pull out your phone and connect with your home refrigerator, which reports the inventory back to you, turns out you need to go to the store after work. You’ve been getting in better shape due to the calorie counter on your phone and also from the monitors on your heart and blood pressure. You suddenly get a notification on your phone from your car, giving you a report on the wear of the tires, the oil level in the engine, and letting you know that it has been 10,000 miles and a tune-up appointment with your mechanic has been almost scheduled, all you have to do is hit send.

While at work, your computer is feeding you information about the business in real time, you see data such as usage, hot zones through customer cell signals, and virtually anything else that can be measured. You also receive a report of customers in your area that show characteristics that are similar to the usual buyer of your product. This allows you to directly market to a fresh group of customers through promotions and social media.

As you pull into your garage from work, after making the grocery stop, your stereo system turns on playing your after-work playlist. The screen on your refrigerator loads the cooking instructions for your meal, and all the appliances get ready to cook. It’s been a busy day, but everything has gone smoothly and comfortably due to the seamless connection of your schedule and your devices.

This scenario feels futuristic and unattainable, but with the Internet of Things, or IoT, it isn’t very far off. Home automation is becoming more and more popular, common examples that are advertised are “smart” appliances, lights, door locks, alarms, and many more things that can be controlled through a mobile application. This is one sector of IoT, machine to machine communication. Through a cloud network, devices can communicate with each other, with the common medium being a smartphone or computer. In the example above, the alarm tells the coffee machine to start, the car to start, and can do much more.

IoT can also be used for data for the user. Again, looking at the example, the car has sensors placed around vital components to the health of the vehicle, this data gets turned into a report that is sent to the owner, and through device communication, the car can fill out the information for maintenance. Using the power of sensors, everything becomes measurable whether it’s a personal or business function. A person’s health can be monitored as mentioned above as well as vital business functions like the durability of production machines or mobile product popularity through in-store or device-based customer tracking.

IoT is bringing us into a more informed world, where risk is being diminished to its lowest form. The power of this data lets us make the most informed decisions and lead the most comfortable and efficient lives. Just as phones became smartphones, our world is becoming a smart world.

The possibilities are pretty much endless. Cities can be much more efficient and safer with automated traffic signals and street lights reacting to the flow of traffic around the area. Information is one of the most powerful tools that we have today, and IoT is the best way to collect it and take action on it.

The scenario portrayed earlier can very quickly become a possibility through the use of IoT solutions.

Industry Applications

IoT has applications in pretty much every industry. Information is one of the most important things that any organization can have, regardless of what their function is. High volume, detailed information allows for better decision making with less risk and higher levels of personalization for customers.

Medical

IoT applications can play a significant role in the medical field. Having sensors on a patient allows for careful measuring of vitals such as heart rate, brain activity, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and can provide real-time monitoring of conditions like asthma, diabetes, and heart problems. Allowing machines to convey this information to each other can help a doctor stay as up to date as possible and assist in making decisions on the next steps for a patient. Real-time tracking, data analysis, and alerts enable not only better patient care, but the ability to provide remote medical assistance. Enabling medical diagnostics to be performed outside the hospital setting also delivers significant cost-savings to patients and can enable the faster diagnosis of conditions.

Retail

IoT in the retail field can be beneficial in multiple ways. A product can be tested extensively for durability even after purchasing through IoT sensors, letting the retailer know when to take it off the shelf or inform the customer of needed maintenance. IoT can also assist with complicated inventory systems, allowing for an accurate measure of stock and location in a warehouse. Finally, product popularity and customer behavior can be measured as you track a customer cell phone signal throughout the store, seeing where they stop and for how long. This can let you know the popularity of certain parts of the store, and what specific customers are more interested in. Customer tracking can also be useful for monitoring customer service, using the cell signals, you can see how long they are alone until an associate comes by asking if they need any help.

Financial

IoT can be useful in the financial field for its data collection abilities that can provide more in-depth customer insights. IoT can communicate across platforms, such as ATMs, credit/debit cards readers, and mobile devices, to collect and store data on an account or the information surrounding a financial decision. Using this data can help provide insights critical to fraud management, personalization, capacity planning, debt collection, and inform decision-making and reduce risk, especially when paired with big data capabilities.

Utility

IoT in the utility field can help take us into the future of environmental efficiency. IoT services can track meters in real time and keep the data accurate, track leaks and outages, but they can also help regulate the power output in certain areas and enable vehicle-to-grid capabilities. For example, if there’s heavy rain in an area, the irrigation can be adjusted to save water and energy and thermostat temperatures can be adjusted for the changing conditions. On windy days, energy plants can work with the wind farms to utilize their natural power as opposed to other energy sources. IOT also makes it possible for an electric vehicle ton not only consume energy from the grid but transfer it back to it at a charging station and for lighting levels to be adjusted based on motion and sunlight levels. IoT can ensure that the energy being used is necessary, optimized, and waste is minimized, leading to more environmentally friendly and less costly energy solutions.

Manufacturing

IoT and manufacturing are a natural pair. With the power of sensors and connected devices, machines can run at their optimum efficiency and downtime can be reduced. Using sensors to monitor wear on materials, preventative maintenance can be scheduled to keep machines running longer without major failures. IoT can make the process as efficient as possible by keeping data on how the system works and help to organize the best process possible. It also enables automated quality control and production flow monitoring.

Marketing

IoT also brings a myriad of business possibilities when combined with big data. Big Data is becoming an incredibly valuable tool for companies as storage and processing capabilities improve as well as collection abilities. The information gathered can give details on just about every aspect of a current customer or a targeted customer. This allows a company to directly market the most relevant products to the customer based on the attributes gathered about them. This has strong applications when combined with event-based systems.

A company can gather information about their customer from a large number of sources. They can use a rewards program to track purchases, allowing for related items to be suggested, but they can also gather information from the customer’s online presence and current location. For example, if a customer posts a picture of them buying a new car, a local retail company can start sending advertisements or promotions to the customer for car-related accessories or maintenance materials. IoT is the medium that makes all of this possible through its interpretation of the data gathered about the customer.

IoT can become a valuable tool for marketers for the reasons mentioned above. Customers who are likely to buy a product can be easily determined through the data collected about them such as location, interests, major life events, activity levels, health indicators, changes in patterns, local weather and traffic conditions, travel plans, and other activities and events. The customer can also benefit from this by having products that they may need or want being promoted to them as well as finding out about products that they would buy but otherwise would not have known about.

This plays an exceptionally significant role when paired with social media accounts. Followed accounts, likes, locations, connections, and lifestyles can be determined to find the ideal customers to match your segment, and then allow for direct advertising through their social media accounts or search engines.

IoT gathering systems paired with big data can also help a company predict what kind of product a customer is likely to buy and when they are likely to buy in the future. This allows the company to advertise what they think the customer may want soon as well as time advertising for recurring purchases when they are in the most likely place to make the purchase.

Taking Action

IoT is opening up possibilities and spurring growth in many industries and can help you move your business forward in new ways as well. The possibilities are nearly limitless – from creating more efficient and organized processes to enabling real-time intelligence to enabling you to make informed decisions and reducing risks. IoT solutions can bring business into the future of efficiency and profit.

At QAT Global, we’re helping companies across a wide variety of industries take advantage of IoT in their businesses to enable better customer services, improve ROI, take care of the environment, and grow their business. Now is the time to discuss how you too can utilize IoT within your business to achieve your strategic goals.

 

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Karie Barrett

Creative Development Director at QAT Global
is the Creative Development Director at QAT Global. She has over 20 years diverse marketing, design, and business experience. Karie is responsible for driving creative strategy and execution to develop and produce quality creative web and marketing solutions that meet internal and external client's business objectives and goals. @KarieBarrett